This year’s Graduate Fashion Week Gala had almost as many menswear collections as womenswear. I was a judge on the selection committee this year alongside Volker Kettenniss, Natasha Cowen, Helen Low, Sarah Brennand and Hilary Alexander who has been on the Executive Committee and championing GFW, which is a charity, now in its 24th year. This season we saw some exciting menswear. Hannah Wallace, from Manchester School of Art, won two awards: the prestigious Gold Award and Creative Catwalk Prize for her oversized puffer but wearable ski-influenced collection. The Gold Prize winner takes home £10,000 and previous winners of the GFW gold award include Matthew Williamson, CEO and creative director of Burberry Christopher Bailey, Stella McCartney and Giles Deacon.
Name: Hannah Wallace
Where are you from? I am from Leicester, Highfields
Course: BA Hons Fashion, Manchester School of Art
Why menswear? Deciding to specialise in menswear design was encouraged by the technicality and engineering of men’s clothes. I find the many practicalities of men’s garments intriguing, as there are many functional attributes that can be developed and manipulated in their clothing. There are discrete similarities throughout my collection that display my imaginative and innovative style of work I find the many practicalities of men’s garments intriguing.
Give us one interesting fact about yourself. I was a finalist for the ‘All walks beyond the Catwalk’ competition for ID Magazine in 2013. I developed various illustrations using a wide variety of media and techniques including continuous line drawings, photo montages and digital enhancements.
Describe your work aesthetic. I am very technical in my design process and I prefer to work in 3D throughout my entire design process. The trimmings and finishes are also considered immediately. My silhouettes become almost characterised as each garment is diverse in fabric, scale, colour and technique.
Who/what inspires you? I am inspired by all culture, music, art, sculpture and film but mostly by youth subculture, as well as revolutionary movements.
Talk us through your final project. I have used a vast variation of research to develop a collection that is interactive and considers further expansion into insulation as well as breathable fabrics that enable flexibility and capacity in construction. The uprising of rioters against the government and astronauts inspired my concept, especially the protective layers that are necessary and thought of as second skins. My research is a combination of subculture, science and engineering and I have individually translated my research through design methods such as digital prints, silhouette, scale and construction. The ability to combine and individually recreate significant revolts throughout history which touch upon, discovery, change, conflict, uprising, progression, innovation and protection. The courage and freedom in which a rioter possesses have influenced my eccentric designs.
What does graduating mean for you? It’s the end of one chapter and the start of another, graduating has given me the opportunity to expand on my existing skills. It has been a very intense 2 years! I transferred onto the second year.
Where do you see yourself in five years time? I would hope to work for a well suited fashion design brand and gain the relevant experience needed in order to eventually establish my own clothing line.
What do you love about what you do? I love the freedom and creativity of designing, especially seeing the final outcome of concept. I have always been a visual and kinaesthetic learner